Two for Tuesday

Hey, it looks like someone from the Big Ten snuck into SEC territory last night and perpetrated a little vandalism … what is this Ohio State picnic table umbrella doing in our courtyard today???  (I have good friends who are OSU alumni, I’d better be careful!)

Ohio State Umbrella

We have received our fall Vera Bradley bags in The Boutique, and I promised I’d show off the new patterns.  Here are some samples of Imperial Toile, Paprika, and Symphony in Hue.  We’re having a little contest in The Boutique right now to give away a Vera bag, so you’d better come and shop soon.

Vera Bradley Paprika & Imperial Toile Patterns

Vera Bradley Paprika & Imperial Toile Patterns

Symphony in Hue Pattern

Symphony in Hue Pattern

Imperial Toile Pattern

Imperial Toile Pattern

To go along with the new patterns, we have a colorful selection of gift wrap, gift bags, gift tags, notecards, and other stationery items.

Fall is in the air, and we are really looking forward to changing leaves, clear skies, and crisp temperatures.  We’re starting our fall promotions on the shopping site in the next day or two; giving away a beautiful silver reindeer or a silver tabletop angel with qualifying purchases.  You surely aren’t going to tell me you haven’t yet even thought about your Christmas list!  Don’t miss out on the good stuff.

~Janet @ The Christmas Place

Food for Friday

Since autumn officially began in North America this week, this cook book is a good one to highlight today.  Autumn in the Country, by Gooseberry Patch, “a bountiful harvest of scrumptious recipes, plus fall fun in the country with family and friends.”

722015 Autum In the Country Chapters include A Cozy Country Brunch, Hometown Homecoming, Indiana Summer Picnic, and We Gather Together.  Each recipe page features a tip for celebrating fall through decorations around the house, party planning, gift giving, and, of course, sharing the bounty of the season.

Here’s the tip from the page of the recipe I’m going to share today – such a cute idea!  Set mini pumpkins on top of small terra cotta flower pots and line them up on the front porch steps for a cheery welcome!

Need an interesting and unique idea for a house warming party?  Try this one.

Spicy Sweet Potato Spread

1 lb sweet potatoes
1 T olive oil
1 T tahini or creamy peanut butter
1 t cumin seed, toasted and crushed
1 t brown sugar, packed
1 t salt
1/2 t cayenne pepper
1/8 t pepper
juice of one lemon
orange zest to taste
1 t crumbled feta cheese
1 t pistachios, toasted and chopped
pita wedges or bagel chips

Bake sweet potatoes at 350 degrees for 40 minutes, or until tender; cool.  Peel and coarsely chop sweet potatoes; combine with next 9 ingredients in a food processor.  Blend until smooth and creamy.  Spoon into a serving bowl; sprinkle with cheese and pistachios.  Serve with pita wedges or bagel chips.  Makes about 2 cups.

T = Tablespoon, t = Teaspoon (have you ever thought about how convenient it is that spoon measurements are only in quarters or eighths or halves, never 1/3-teaspoon?  the measuring spoon industry may be missing an opportunity)

Once again, I’m am wondering who the visionaries are that first think to try mixing ingredients like this – topped with feta and pistachios?  Genius!

Have a great weekend, everyone!

~Janet @ The Christmas Place

P.S. The recipe on the facing page sounds awfully good, too ~ Brie with Hot Pecan-Caramel Sauce.  Yummmm.

That’s not snow!

Guests have been walking through a cloud of soft, white floaties this week over at The Inn – but no, that’s not snow, real or fake!  Do not try to catch the white puffs on your tongue … they are actually Asian Wooly Hackberry Aphids.  If you catch one in your hand, wait just a moment and you’ll see wings and antennae pop up from the fuzzy ball.  It’s kinda neat.

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~Janet @ The Christmas Place

Quick Pix

Today I noticed a really unique and easy way to add an array of ribbon styles and layers of color and texture to a Christmas tree for those (like me) lacking skill in the bow-tying arena.

Take three different wired ribbon styles, layer them together, roll them up together in opposite directions from each end, and then unfurl a banner section in the middle.  Position in the branches of your tree in a way that adds motion and energy to the overall look.  Isn’t the result beautiful?

Curled ribbon 1

Curled ribbon 2

Curled ribbon 3

The same three ribbons, a patterned green satin, brocade white, and sheer gold mesh, were used in every case, but they achieved slightly different looks by displaying the green or the gold on the “top” of the curl.

Of course, if you have the skill, go for the full bow look.  This is just one side of a gorgeous swag hanging around a gilt-frame mirror.

Bowed ribbon

What a wonderful complement to the decorated Christmas tree.  I also like the way the lime-green accents stand out and work so well with the dark green of the tree.

~Janet @ The Christmas Place

Fall Festival Time in Pigeon Forge!

It may still be rather warm days and not-too-cool nights, and not many leaves have yet started to change on the trees, but that won’t keep us from putting on a fall show for you.  Pumpkins and gourds, corn stalks, a giant cornucopia, and some colorful characters are hanging out in the Christmas Place courtyard these days.

Fall Festival courtyard 3

Of course, we’re gonna do it Vols style!

Fall Festival courtyard 2

Fall Festival courtyard 4

Fall Festival courtyard 5

Fall Festival courtyard 7

Fall Festival courtyard 6

Fall Festival courtyard 1b

Fall Festival courtyard 2b

Fall Festival courtyard 3b

Fall Festival courtyard 4b

If you’re inspired to get a little autumn vibe going around your home, check out our selection of fall-themed decorations.  Spruce up your Department 56 Dickens or Halloween village with fall trees and cornstalk lanterns; add a Mark Roberts Harvest Fairieto your book case; copper acornsrich colored leaves, and a brown jeweled poinsettia will add the right color to your stair rail, along with a few fresh cinnamon, copper, and brown ribbon bows.  Until your trees are in full flame, be sure to stake out a fall flag in the garden to hurry things along.

You’ll find businesses throughout Pigeon Forge and Sevier County decked out for the Festival – come and take a tour!

~Janet @ The Christmas Place

Two for Tuesday

I found these very antique-looking glass ornaments on a tree in the Custom Floral Department.  They are a rich copper brown that would work with any antique color theme.

Joy ornament 2

Peace 1

Not pictured is a coordinating round ornament with the message “Season’s Greetings.”

When you see these next pictures, you’ll know right away why they caught my eye – just the right amount of sparkle!  These are crafted of very light-weight mesh, arranged into stylized branches or limbs, reminiscent of a type of feather tree.

Gold tree

Whimzy Christmas Tree

Whimzy Christmas Tree

 Don’t the sparkles on the gold tree look like diamonds?  The gold tree comes in three sizes; the green Whimzy tree also comes in a couple of sizes and is accented with snow on the “branch” tips and shiny glass ornaments in assorted colors.  One tree or a grouping of different sizes on a mantle or foyer table will make a beautiful focal point for your holiday decorations.

 I hope you’ve been enjoying our new shopping site this week!  Did you notice the enhanced search-by-category feature?  This should help you find just what you’re looking for on the first click.

We were delighted to see the sun for a few hours today in Pigeon Forge … hope you saw a little of the big yellow guy in your neighborhood, too!

~Janet @ The Christmas Place

New Christmas Place Website!

We launched a new website design today – please take a look! 

www.christmasplace.com 

The page is larger, to compliment the larger monitors most of you are using these days.  We added new navigation panes, Featured Products, and quick links to the home page.  The Products tab lists all of our categories, brands, and decorating themes in one convenient spot, and we added some new tabs at the top for easy access to information. 

Let us know what you think!

~Janet @ The Christmas Place

Food for Friday

Can you believe Halloween is almost upon us?  I almost feel the ghost of 2009 already waiting in the wings.  This year is just flying past, and we’re anticipating the nip of fall in the air and leaves turning and the first fire burning to ward off a chilly evening.

Some of you may be planning parties for little ghoulies and ghosties, so here’s a really easy and delicious treat for the kids with the overactive sweet-tooths that may be haunting your evening ~ or something to make if you just can’t keep your hands out of the treat bag!  {You know who you are … }

Hallowee Village Candy Caldron

Halloween Village Candy Cauldron

Fun-Size Candy Bar Mousse

Ingredients:
9 fun-size candy bars (Milky Way, Snickers, 3 Musketeers)
1-1/4 C heavy whipping cream
Garnish:
1/2 C heavy whipping cream
fresh raspberries
Chop 1 candy bar into small pieces; reserve for garnish.

In a medium saucepan over low heat, completely melt eight remaining candy bars.  In a chilled bowl ~ and chill your beaters, too ~ whip the heavy cream until stiff peaks form.  (A tip – keep the beaters from hitting the side of the bowl while you’re working – when you jar the bowl, you knock out some of the bubbles.  Yes, I use a hand-mixer in my kitchen!)  Remove 1/4 cup whipped cream and refrigerate.  Stir 1/4 cup whipped cream into the warm melted chocolate bars.  Fold this mixture back into the remaining whipped cream.  Refrigerate for 1 to 2 hours until set.  Before serving, whisk the reserved 1/4 cup whipped cream into the mousse.  Divide among four glasses or cups.  Garnish with additional whipped cream, reserved candy bar pieces, and raspberries.

I’m telling you, it tastes just like the original candy bar, only dreamy-creamy-yummier.  Of course, the first time I made this, I had to quintuple the recipe to serve 20 people.  I used 45 fun-size candy bars, and it took forever just to unwrap them.  After all, where would have been the fun in using the weight to figure out how many large bars to use instead??  Oh, no, fun-size all the way!
 
It’s the Grand Fall Rod Run in Pigeon Forge this weekend – more classic cars passing by all week.  So cool!
 
~Janet @ The Christmas Place
 
P.S.  Speaking of Department 56, we’ve sold all the rooms we had reserved for our signing event and Dickens Anniversary celebration the weekend of November 7th.  I don’t think the hotel is sold out yet, though, if you’d still like to join us for that weekend.  www.InnAtChristmasPlace.com

Feathered Friends Tree 2009

It’s another flocked Christmas tree, this one decorated with all sorts of birds.  Some are quite realistic, others are more naturalistic, all are very beautiful.  The decoration on this tree was completed by our talented custom floral department.  Enjoy!

2010 Feathered Friends Bird Tree

2010 Feathered Friends Bird Tree

Bird tree 2

Did you notice the deer resting in the boughs of this Christmas tree?
 
Bird tree deer 2

Bird tree deer 3

My favorite, the adorable Snowy Owl!  Just above him to the right, notice the funny little birdy wearing a knit stocking cap.  He makes me giggle.

Bird tree snowy owl

Bird tree 4

Look at this frosty star – it looks like it was made of slivers of ice.

Bird tree star

Bird tree 5

One of my favorite vignettes in the tree, the snow-blanketed winter cabin.

Bird tree cabin

Magnolia blossoms and pheasant feathers mingle comfortably with berry clusters and leafy vines in this imaginative haven for the birds of winter.

Bird tree 3

These trees just take my breath away, time after time!

~Janet @ The Christmas Place

Two for Tuesday

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Can we have a quick word about whimsy?  It’s a theme I love for the brilliant colors and the wacky factor in shape and proportion, and what these pieces lack in pure glitter they make up for in pompoms and originality, I think!

IMG_8254

 IMG_8255

 IMG_8260

 IMG_8264

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Wow, that’s a fun collection!

Here’s a cutie-pie Santa ornament that tickles my fancy.  His tiny little body dangles comically from his big giant head.  I sure hope he doesn’t have a complex about it!

178007 Santa ornament

It’s suddenly raining buckets here – I hope everyone had the opportunity to mow the lawn before the weather changed, because the weather map looks cloudy for at least a week … a good time to come indoors and shop the buy-3-get-1-free ornament sale!

~Janet @ The Christmas Place

P.S. I’ve got another beautiful tree to unveil this week – Birds of a Feather I’m calling it until they’re done – it’s another knock-your-Christmas-stockings-off creation!